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Individual Changes Lead to Greater Global Conservation

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IMG_2981s by Karl Soderholm via flickr

Over the past several decades, people have begun to realize that the actions they take in their daily lives merge with the actions of others to create massive change in the earth’s environment. Previously, these changes were occurring but due to a lack of awareness of potential consequences they were hurting the environment rather than helping. 2016 saw environmental success stories and 2017 has the potential to see even more as people continue to make conservation a part of their daily lives.

Changes at Home

The first place to begin making daily changes is in one’s home. Some residents can choose their power provider. If this is a possibility for you, consider looking for a company like Alberta Energy which offers its customers the opportunity to buy renewable energy credits or carbon offsets. Unfortunately, not all power companies offer this as an option yet and many people live in areas where they have only one provider.

Happily, it is easier than ever to make changes within the home that can be implemented by anyone. Choose the most frequently used lights in the home and replace them Energy Star bulbs. This not only helps the environment but can also save money over the course of the year that will offset the cost of the initial purchase.

Heating and cooling are the cause of much energy used by homes each year. There are several ways to decrease the energy burden for these functions. First, ensure the home is properly insulated. This may mean having windows and doors professionally weatherized or additional insulation in the walls and attic. This can make homes substantially more energy and cost efficient as well as more comfortable all year.

The appliances used in the home and the way in which they are used can also play a big role in conservation. Save water by turning the faucet off while brushing teeth, only washing full loads of dishes and clothes, and using low-flow showerheads, faucets, and toilets. To save energy while using hot water, set the water heater at a lower default setting. Whenever new appliances are needed, always look for those with Energy Star labels or upgrade as funds become available.

Changes at the Office

Conservation doesn’t end at home, there are plenty of opportunities to help the environment while at work. While it may be easier for someone in a management position to make changes, any employee can make recommendations.

Energy Star ratings are applicable to many office appliances such as computers, printers, lighting, cooling and heating equipment, and copiers. Offices that aren’t recycling can greatly increase their conservation efforts by introducing recycling bins for paper, plastic, and glass in the building. Many cities have organizations who are willing to train and facilitate businesses who need assistance in developing a companywide recycling plan.

Transportation to and from work can also become a way to help lead the way in conservation efforts. When groups organize and carpool to and from work they can significantly decrease the group’s carbon footprint.

It can be difficult to comprehend just how much of a difference small changes like these make. While it is true that the individual changes are not going to slow global warming or save an endangered species, when done in tandem with the small changes of people in your community and across the world, the overall impact is substantial. Choose one thing to change to do your part to create a conservation success story in 2017.

Energy

7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption

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Energy Consumption
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.

This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?

Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.

New Technologies to Watch

These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:

  1. Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
  2. Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
  3. New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
  4. Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
  5. Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
  6. The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
  7. Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.

Making the Investment

All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.

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Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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